April 24 – May 13, 2018

Who’s this? Mina’s new pet? Naw, just an otter the kids saw on a recent trip to the zoo. Actually, it looks an awful lot like Mina when we wake her up in the morning.

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These next to photos look an awful lot a like!

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Yen told me he’s been trying to take a lot of close-up photos lately so he can really capture the kids’ faces. It reminds you just how long Linus’s eyelashes are.

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I gave everyone haircuts this month and committed the cardinal sin of bangs: I cut Mina’s while they were wet. Idiot! I should know better from making the same mistake on my own. She heard me moaning about how short they were, and she said, “Why don’t you let Mina be beautiful?” She’s so brutal.

Short bangs or no, Mina is still the most stylish girl on the block.

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Back to the zoo again! Our membership expires at the end of the month, and we’re not planning to renew right away. We thought we should take advantage of it while we still have it.

Franklin Park Zoo

Peacocks are still Mina’s absolute favorite. She does a pretty good impression: “Yalp! Yalp!” This one was really howling away, so she was able to take some lessons.

Franklin Park Zoo

Franklin Park Zoo

I’ve probably mentioned before that while Boston has two zoos, neither of them is anything to get excited about. In fact, the “big zoo” (as we call Franklin Park) is really more of a playground with a few animals scattered here and there. But to its credit, it’s an awfully good playground.

Franklin Park Zoo

Here I’m pretending to be a spider trying to catch him as he goes past my web.

Franklin Park Zoo

You may notice that he’s coming to the end of a manicure. I had my nails done a few times and the kids wanted theirs as well.

Franklin Park Zoo

Here’s one of the few animals they do have on exhibit…

Franklin Park Zoo

It’s getting warmer finally, so they’ve let the budgies out into the walk-in cage.

Franklin Park Zoo

Of course we ran into Mina’s friend again. Linus is rather intimated by him.

Franklin Park Zoo

Franklin Park Zoo

Mina loves her swimsuit! If anyone else wears a tanktop, she says, “Why you wear swimsuit?” She also gets upset when her swimsuit gets wet. I keep explaining that getting it wet is the whole point, but she won’t be convinced.

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If the swimsuit isn’t meant to get wet, then the best attire for playing with the water table is underwear. Sometimes the underwear comes off again, and we have to have a talk about how the neighbors really don’t want to see everything.

As you can surmise, Mina’s been fully potty trained for a while now. She’s got Hello Kitty and unicorn pants, and she’s extremely proud of them.

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Hugs! Linus has been extremely affectionate with Mina lately. He’s drop everything and hug her, or he comes over to stroke her cheek. He tells us a lot that Mina is his baby and he will take care of her. Mina mostly doesn’t seem to mind.

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He loves Mina, and he loves lint rollers.

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Linus was so (understandably) proud when he built this tower that was nearly as tall as he is!

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I think I told you a while back that Yen gave the kids his old digital camera. Linus has taken quite a few photos, and now Mina’s gotten into it. They take interesting pictures. We just can’t find a device old enough to download them!

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I bought beach passes for us this year at Crane Beach. One sunny Sunday morning we decided that it didn’t matter that it was chilly and windy, we should still hit the beach.

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You can see just how windy it was!

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The seagulls don’t mind the wind. The fellows at this particular beach are incredibly bold. I saw one open a cooler once.

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See how deserted it was? Fantastic!

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We’ve been doing our evening hikes again. This one was in Lexington, just 15 minutes from our house. I can’t imagine how much they could sell the land for if the town wanted to. I’m so grateful they don’t give in to the temptation.

Willard's Woods, Lexington

Willard's Woods, Lexington

After a ramble through the woods, the trail opens out into a meadow. The kids zipped back and forth in opposite directions to burn off some steam. Linus doesn’t have Mina’s natural flat-out stride, but here his feet are both off the ground!

Willard's Woods, Lexington

Willard's Woods, Lexington

Willard's Woods, Lexington

Willard's Woods, Lexington

Willard's Woods, Lexington

The kids helped maintain the trail by launching every stick and rock they could find into the streams.

Willard's Woods, Lexington

Willard's Woods, Lexington

This actually wasn’t posed! He just dropped down for a little break and Yen managed to catch him.

Willard's Woods, Lexington

After a while they asked me to join the races.

Willard's Woods, Lexington

Willard's Woods, Lexington

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We had a little party at work, and someone gave me this headdress. It’s actually meant to look like candles on a birthday cake, but Linus likes to wear it upside down.

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It does well with Mina’s omnipresent fox ears.

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Firefighter Nana! He’s been getting his hat on and acting out little scenes with the truck now instead of just endlessly raising and lowering the ladder. Both kids have gotten more into pretend games. Mina mostly holds tea parties for her My Little Ponies, and then they break out into a dance party.

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They play hard, they crash hard. Poor Mina: now that it’s summer, we often pick her up after a nap to find her pillow drenched with sweat.

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Every time Mina gets up from a nap, I think, “I want her hair!”

Note the pony tucked into her shirt.

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We bought little reading chairs for the kids about a year ago. Linus sits in his occasionally, but it’s mostly used for obstacle courses and fort construction. Mina, on the other hand, lounges in hers and reads constantly. You can see that she’s still got a claim on this window, and it’s still filled with her treasures.

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This was a daytime outing (i.e., while I was at work) to a park in Cambridge that the kids particularly love.

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That’s the Museum of Science in the background behind them. Could you imagine a more perfect arrangement? MOS and then the park – often followed by walking down to the Galleria for some lunch. These kids have it made!

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If you’re trying to orient yourself: that’s the Tobin bridge in the distance.

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Back home and reading! No, she never sits in it the way one is meant to.

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I think they captured Yen’s phone and were playing a game! Little hackers.

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Another big daytime trip: Boston Common. I do love it when people dress up the ducklings for Spring.

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Who could possibly look cooler than Nana while riding a duck?

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Accessories! Mina’s got her glasses, of course, and that’s a glow-stick Linus is wearing around his neck. All glow-sticks have since been thrown away, as Mina decided to bite one in half. Yen spent the afternoon researching poison control web sites after that. Don’t worry: it only causes a mild burning sensation on the tongue in small doses.

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I always forget there’s a carousel on the Common! I’m surprised Mina chose a rooster, as she’s got a love/hate relationship with them. She likes the sound they make, but the one at Wegman’s really freaks her out. Whenever we announce that we’re headed to the store, she says, “Don’t let the chicken see Mina!”

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Here’s the little duck island in the middle of the Public Garden – you know, the one from Make Way for Ducklings?

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The swan boats are back open for the season, and here’s the Tran family’s inaugural ride!

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Graham crackers are not included in the price of admission.

If you’ve never been to the Public Garden (or don’t remember Make Way for Ducklings or Trumpet of the Swan), you might not know that these boats are human powered: kids (usually Northeastern University students, I suspect) spend the summer bicycling them around the pond with a full load of tourists. They must be in terrific shape by September.

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Hey! Heeeey!

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Spring has been surprisingly nice this year despite the late start. Everything suddenly bloomed at once.

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Tuplip inspectors!

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Fountain inspectors!

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Ah, and then we decided to go to Walden Pond one evening. Yen and I went there on our very first date, but we hadn’t been back since! It was a beautiful night for a walk.

Walden Pond, Concord

Our goals was to walk around the lake before they closed the parking lot gates at 8pm. Step one: Get the kids away from the beach.

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That was pretty tough.

Walden Pond, Concord

Walden Pond, Concord

We finally got them onto the trail and invented a game: draw a line behind you as you walk.

Walden Pond, Concord

I’m pretty disappointed, I have to say. Walden Pond is – as you can imagine – a big tourist destination, and a lot of people come out from the city for the beach. That means that it’s pretty heavily trafficked by people who don’t spend any time in the woods. Years and years of this have caused some pretty series erosion, and now they’ve lined the entire trail with wire fencing. It’s so awful. Good old Henry would be absolutely horrified. I don’t think we’ll ever do this walk again.

Walden Pond, Concord

Walden Pond, Concord

Walden Pond, Concord

Back at the beach, the kids tossed a few more rocks for good measure.

Walden Pond, Concord

Walden Pond, Concord

Look! It’s a rare photo of Yen!

Walden Pond, Concord

Walden Pond, Concord

Walden Pond, Concord

Walden Pond, Concord

The next day, we decided to scratch the hiking itch that wasn’t fully addressed by Walden. We headed out to good ol’ Great Brook Farm.

Great Brook Farm state park

Great Brook Farm state park

These kids are incredible! They did the entire walk without being carried. The hiking boots make a big difference, but of course so does practice. Both of them just scramble over rocks without any trouble at all. In fact, they led the way for this entire ramble.

Great Brook Farm state park

Great Brook Farm state park

Great Brook Farm state park